Gen Katumba attackers were skilled in urban warfare – Security experts

Gen Katumba's shooters still hiding in Bukoto, Ntinda - Security
Forensic experts secure the scene of an attempted assassination on former minister for Works and Transport and former Chief of Defence Forces (CDF), General Katumba Wamala, in which he was wounded and his daughter and driver killed in the suburb of Kiasasi within Kampala, Uganda June 1, 2021. COURTESY PHOTO/REUTERS/Abubaker Lubowa

Kampala, Uganda | URN | Security experts have said that the attackers on Gen Katumba Wamala exhibited all skills of refined urban warfare.

This is after the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Maj Gen Paul Lokech described Gen Katumba Wamala’s shooters as unsophisticated.

Security experts, Fred Egesa and Grace Matsiko say no amateur would trail a four-star general for more than 4km, be able to shoot while moving. Egesa adds that unless a person has military skills, he would not be in a position to shoot perfectly at a moving object and above all successfully flee the scene.

“They know the gun. They are a bit confident. They are good at close combat. They had the bravery to attack the target at a very close range. They have some good knowledge. They are trained in those areas. They have the stamina to fight at every close range,” Egesa said.

Gen Katumba was on June 1st this year riddled with bullets at Kisota road, Kawempe division in Kampala. The incident left Katumba’s daughter Brenda Nantongo and driver Haruna Kayondo killed on spot.

While updating journalists on the progress of investigations on Tuesday 8, June 2021, Maj Gen Lokech said the assailants who were four in number moving on two motorcycles and fled the scene taking two different directions were much disorganized.

Assassination attempt on Gen Katumba Wamala: Daughter, driver killed
Gen. Edward Katumba Wamala

Maj Gen Lokech said after reviewing Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras, he noticed that the shooters spent close to 50 minutes in the area trying to find the escape routes. Police say attackers would have been cornered had first responders and police officers manning CCTV Command Centre coordinated very fast.

“The bad guys circulated in the area for 40 to 50 minutes. And that what I am saying it was a failure on our part. From the time of the attack and the time they left the general area of the crime, there was some delay on our part,” Gen Lokech said.

Last week, Maj. Gen Mugisha Muntu, a former army commander said that Uganda is harbouring several highly trained assassins, with sophisticated techniques to execute high profile attacks. He said that Ugandans who have served security forces in Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia have acquired skills that are far better than the capacity of local security personnel, making them a threat to Uganda.

Assassination attempt on Gen Katumba Wamala: Daughter, driver killed
This picture taken on 1st June 2021, shows Gen Katumba Wamala’s vehicle riddled with bullets, just after an attempt on his life. COURTESY PHOTO

But Security experts, Egesa and Matsiko disagree. Matsiko argues that the skills given to security guards are ordinary because they are deployed to guard installations that are already secured by very powerful military forces.

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Egesa thinks security guard returnees in a country such as Afghanistan and Iraq are capable of conducting organised assassination like those happening in Uganda. According to Egesa, a person hired to work alongside US troops in countries such as Iraq or Afghanistan is given military skills because he is facing off with terrorists where he needs skills to protect himself.

The Uganda Association of External Recruitment Agencies –UAERA and External Employment Unit at the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development do not have figures on the number of people who go out to work as security guards in various countries.